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August 24, 2017

On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared a pre-emptive state of disaster for 30 counties, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) set up a crisis task force to prepare for Tropical Storm Harvey, expected to make landfall in Texas on Friday night or Saturday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. The National Weather Service and state and local officials are especially worried about Harvey because it is slow-moving and expected to dump 10-15 inches of rain or more on Houston and surrounding areas over the weekend as it crawls northeastward. The National Weather Service issued its first-ever storm surge watch for Calhoun County, Texas, some 150 miles southwest of Houston, meaning that water could rise 4 to 6 feet above ground.

Harvey "could become the first major natural disaster of the Trump presidency," warns Eric Holthaus at Grist. "This is the kind of storm you drop everything to pay attention to." It has already been a wet August for the Texas Gulf Coast, and so the ground is saturated and primed to flood, while Houston is especially vulnerable to devastating floods because of poor city planning and lots of pavement, he notes, and the worst models have 20 to 40 inches of rain dumping on parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Then there's the warming climate, Holthaus says:

Floods like the one in the worst Harvey forecasts have come at an increasingly frequent pace. Since the 1950s, the Houston area has seen a 167 percent increase in heavy downpours. At least four rainstorms so severe they would occur only once in 100 years under normal conditions have hit the area since May 2015. With a warmer climate comes faster evaporation and a greater capacity for thunderstorms to produce epic deluges. ... If Harvey's rains hit the coast with anywhere near the force of the most alarming predictions, we'd be in for disaster. And judging by how New Orleans and Houston have handled recent rains, coupled with the state of federal disaster relief, we're not ready for it. [Grist]

You can read more about Harvey's dangers at Grist. Peter Weber

7:41 a.m. ET

President Trump blames America for souring relations between the U.S. and Russia. As it turns out, so does Russia.

In an early-morning tweet before his Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said that the U.S.-Russia relationship has "NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness" and the more recent "Witch Hunt," a reference to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry had a simple response to Trump's finger-pointing:

The meeting comes just days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents allegedly connected to email hacking in the 2016 election. The White House's response to the charges avoided condemning Russia, and Trump hasn't said whether he'll bring the charges up in his meeting with Putin. Some top Democrats urged him to cancel the summit altogether. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:35 a.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Instead of using their discretion, two police officers in Roswell, Georgia, chose in April to let a coin-flip app decide whether to arrest a woman stopped for speeding.

WXIA-TV obtained body camera video of the incident, and Officer Courtney Brown can be heard asking Sarah Webb if she knows how fast she was going. Webb said she was sorry for speeding, but was late for work. Brown asks Webb to hand over the keys, and then walks to her patrol car, where she asks other officers if she should arrest Webb or give her a ticket.

Brown is heard saying she did not record Webb's speed, and then says, "Hold on," proceeding to open a coin-flip app on her phone, CBS News reports. Officer Kristee Wilson pipes up, and says if it's heads Webb should be arrested, and if it's tails, she should be free to go. The app gives Brown tails, but Wilson suggests she be arrested anyway, and Webb is detained, charged with going too fast for conditions and reckless driving. Those charges were ultimately dropped.

Police Chief Rusty Grant told CBS News on Friday he was "appalled" that any officers would "trivialize the decision making process of something as important as the arrest of a person," and said as soon as heard about the incident, an investigation was launched and the two officers were placed on administrative leave. Webb, who said she didn't know about the use of the app until she was contacted weeks later by WXIA, called the incident "degrading." Catherine Garcia

2:06 a.m. ET
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Throughout his campaign, Mexico's president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, vowed to fight corruption and cut down on perks for government officials, and on Sunday, he announced his plan to slash his own salary in half.

López Obrador said that he will earn 108,000 pesos, or about $5,707, a month, less than half what President Enrique Peña Nieto makes now. He also said no public official will earn more than he does during his six-year term. "What we want is for the budget to reach everybody," López Obrador told reporters.

Other changes he plans on making include cutting perks for elected officials like bodyguards, chauffeurs, and private medical insurance; forcing politicians to disclose their assets; ending pension plans for former presidents; and turning the presidential residence into a cultural center. He will take office in December. Catherine Garcia

1:29 a.m. ET
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On Monday, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet one-on-one for 90 minutes in Helsinki, joined only by their interpreters.

The summit is taking place in Finland's presidential palace, with Trump and Putin also scheduled to have lunch with aides and attend a joint press conference. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have spoken out against the meeting, coming just days after the Justice Department announced it was indicting 12 Russians accused of hacking Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails in 2016.

Trump told CBS News on Sunday that he is going into the meeting with "low expectations," and while no major breakthroughs are expected, experts say just getting to talk with Trump is a win for Putin. "Russia has done nothing to deserve us meeting them in this way," Nina Jankowicz, a global fellow at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, told The Associated Press. "Not only is this a P.R. coup [for Putin] no matter what happens, Trump could say nothing and it would help to legitimize his regime." Catherine Garcia

12:23 a.m. ET

Retired music teacher Robert Moore has long dreamed of getting his students together for one more concert — little did he know that they also had the same idea.

Moore retired in 1996 after spending 30 years directing the Ponca City Chorale in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Moore taught about 900 students, and a small group joined forces to plan a huge concert to show their appreciation. Almost 300 former students were able to gather in Ponca City, coming from different states and countries, to perform for Moore inside the Poncan Theatre. They came up with an elaborate scheme to get Moore to the Poncan, and when he saw all those faces from the past, he was in shock.

Many told Moore they went into teaching and music because of him, including John Atkins from the class of 1976; he spent 25 years singing with the L.A. Opera and other groups, and "it wouldn't have happened without you," he said. Moore taught them discipline and the importance of hard work, several told CBS Sunday Morning, and they respected him. "No man deserves this," he said through tears. "I loved you then and I love you now. Thank you." Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2018
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Wanting to pave the way for negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan, the White House has directed top U.S. diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban, several American and Afghan officials told The New York Times.

The Taliban, which controls or has influence over 59 of Afghanistan's 407 districts, has long said it wants to first discuss peace with the United States, not the Afghan government, but the U.S. has always pushed back. There are about 15,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the Taliban continues to regularly launch deadly attacks.

Over the last few weeks, several high-ranking American officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to prepare for talks, with Pompeo briefly visiting Kabul and meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2018
Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince William and Prince Charles RSVP'd "no" to tea with President Trump last week at Windsor Castle, leaving Queen Elizabeth to go it alone, The Sunday Times reports.

Both men said they had no desire to meet with Trump during his visit to the U.K., a person with knowledge of the matter told the Times, and even the Queen's interaction with him was "kept to the bare minimum." Trump's trip was not an official state visit, but Prince Charles and Prince William not meeting with him "was a snub," the person said. "They simply refused to attend. It's a very, very unusual thing for the Queen to be there on her own." At 97, Prince Philip has retired from royal duties, with Charles often filling in for his father, but "he goes to what he wants to go to, and if he had wanted to be there he could have been."

Charles and William spent their Friday doing more than changing Prince Louis' diapers and flipping through the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding album; Charles attended a board meeting and a Gloucestershire police event, and William played in a charity polo match. Catherine Garcia

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